Vertical Erector System

The vehicle erector system (VES) will raise the rocket to a position of 5 degrees from the vertical. The VES will also act as a Launchpad for the rocket and integrate with the rocket igniter insertion system and payload-capture system.

The driving requirement of the VES is to successfully lift the rocket to the predetermined 5 degrees from vertical. To meet this requirement several subsystem assemblies were considered. The first was a system of pulleys designed to provide a high mechanical advantage to perform the required work. A very rough sketch of this system can be seen in the figure below. The proposed pulley system has the advantage of being mechanically simple, and easily alterable with extra pulleys and rope.


The second subassembly considered was a simple gear train driven by a DC motor and mounted at the launch rail hinge, as seen in the figure below. This system has the advantage of providing a high amount of torque directly at the pivot hinge, and is compact enough to not necessitate and extensive support structure.

The final subassembly considered was a pair of worm screws driven by stepper motors offset from the launch rail. The figure below shows a SolidWorks model of this assembly. The VES must be robust enough to perform its key function without human interaction and with minimal chance of failure. The stepper motor and worm screw assembly was chosen because it provided enough torque to easily lift the rocket and rail, and provided an easily programmable method of fine control by using the stepper motors.